Today i tried setting up my new Nexus 7 to use for development with Oxygene for Java and our Data Abstract for Java BETA. As most of you probably know, i’m not a big Android developer myself, and this is my first encounter with a live device. Compared to iOS, there are quite a few more (and not obvious) steps necessary to get started, so i figured i’d write down what i had to do:

  • On the Nexus, go to “Setting|Developer options”, toggle the “ON/OFF” switch at the top to “ON” and enable the “USB debugging” option.
  • Plug your Nexus 7 in to USB. If you’re using Oxygene in VMware (say on a Mac), make sure go into the VM options and connect the “asus Nexus” USB device to the VM. (Carlo tells me there is a way to debug “remote” with the device attached Mac side, but that is fiddly. Maybe we’ll expose UI options to make that easy in a future update for Oxygene.)
  • On Windows, you need to install device drivers (not something i had to do for a long time ;). Oddly, this is a two-step process:
  • Go to the ASUS Website and download the driver that’s offered (choose “Android” as OS. Duh.). Run the installer. Oddly, this installs some stuff, but not the actual device driver. Instead, it places a .zip file with that driver in your Documents folder. Go and unzip that, you will need it in the next step.
  • Go to “Control Panel|Device Manager”. You should see an “Unsupported Device/Nexus” in the list. Right-click it and select “Update Driver”, choose to manually locate the driver, and browse to the extracted .zip from before.
  • With that, you should be set. If you now open an Android project in Visual Studio, you can go to the Project Properties, select the “Android” tab, and the Nexus should show up in the “Android Device” setting (as a cryptic hex number). If it doesn’t yet, clicking “Refresh” should do the trick.
  • There is no Step 7.

That’s it. Press “Start” and your Oxygene project should build and run on your Nexus.

Why did i get a Nexus 7? Good question. As we are getting deeper into Java and Android support (and with Oxygene for Java now being out almost three quarters of a year), i decided i need to get my hands dirty with some Android development myself in order to apply more of my trademark anal retentiveness to our Java and Android tool chain in both Oxygene and RO/DA. I figured the best way to do that was to get an actual device to play with.

So what do i think of the 7? It’s a nice device, for sure. I like it, probably more than i expected to, and i am starting to appreciate certain aspects of Android. There are some nice ideas there. That said, i don’t see the Nexus (or Android in general) replacing my iPad or iPhone anytime in the near future. No surprise there.